Buying Used Textbooks: 5 Tips & 5 Ways

When you are buying used textbooks, you need to remember just a few things to make sure it works well and you get what you want.

I’ve bought dozens of books for dozens of classes. You can get my best tips on this below, and get all your books quick.

I’ll mix the sources into the tips as you go.

Tip #1: When Buying Used Textbooks Get The Right Ones!

Always verify that you are buying the right textbook. Look, hundreds of people have used textbooks for sale. They don’t know if you are buying the right one – you have to check, but it’s easy!

In most cases, you can get a list from your college or university of the correct textbook title and edition for each class. That list is very important.

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Source#1: Bookrenter Textbooks

If you don’t need to keep the textbook for another college class or as a reference (and let’s face it, very few of your college books fall into this category), then you might want to rent textbooks instead.

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Tip #2: Compare Prices

You may have read a story I told about a used textbook I bought. It was expensive new, and I didn’t want to pay it.

I checked around, and some places had the same edition and everything used for nearly the same as the new price! What a rip off.

But I did find a place selling it at a big discount. I have saved a ton of money by buying used textbooks; that is just one example.

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Source #2: Ecampus

Have you heard of these guys? You can get a great deal buying used textbooks, and you can also refer friends and earn some cash for yourself.

Give them a look: Buy your Textbooks at and Save up to 50% off your campus bookstore price!

Tip #3: Get Good Quality

Some people abuse their college textbooks and then can’t sell them back to the bookstore, so they put them online. Be sure you are getting a good quality book you can use for your class, not shredded paper.

Typically, if someone tells you the quality of a book on a good website that sells a lot of books, you can report back how you liked it. This keeps people from posting inaccurate conditions for their books.

And this goes both ways: when you sell your used textbooks, always give an accurate condition.

Source #3: Amazon Textbooks

I use Amazon both to buy and sell used textbooks. Because you can set your own price, I have found great deals here, and you will, too.

Since it is such a big site, you can often sell your books here when buyback sites won’t take them, too.

Tip #4: eTextbooks

Have you heard of this?

You can look up your class online, and the textbooks for it. Sometimes, you can find your book online.

By the way, if you are taking literature or even history, and have to read some popular works or classic books, you should definitely look into this idea. You can eliminate the cost of your textbooks altogether sometimes.

Check Google books, and this site has a good listing of free textbook sites: Free Ebook Site List

Source 4: CourseSmart

This site sells access to digital textbooks online instead of traditional books. You don’t have to carry the book or worry about selling it later. You can access it online from all over.

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Tip #5: Don’t Keep A Dead Book

This took me years and lots of money to learn. Don’t keep old books just because you like them. Sell used textbooks as soon as possible unless you know you have to use the book in another class.

You know that book I mentioned above? It was for a law class I had to take for my business degree. I thought I might keep the book since it’s a good reference, right?


I changed my mind on this subject the day I found the previous edition at my local thrift store. How much was it? $3.

Yes, $3.

I sold mine immediately and bought the cheap textbook from the thrift store as my reference book. And I have seen more books like this at used book stores and thrift stores.

I know this tip isn’t about buying used textbooks, but it kind of is. If you sell your old textbooks, then when the time comes to buy, you’ll have more money.

Source #5: Thrift stores and Used bookstores

You probably guessed it.

Go check out your local thrift store and see if there any used textbooks in your field.

Or maybe you’ll find a real reference book, not one with sections on homework. ;o)

Finish college – you’ll be glad you did, but save money by buying used textbooks.

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